Tuesday, January 29, 2008

White Rabbit

If this were a post proper I'd have called it "Stressed Out Sue". I keep feeling like whimpering, "I'm late, I'm late!"

We were planning to move on Saturday but now find that we have to leave on Thursday instead. All our own silly planning. So called planning.

Anyway, just a note to say I'm off. I know I haven't been responding to mails and scraps and wall posts of late but really guys, I'm awfully busy just now. Will get back to (cyber) life in a while, as soon as we get our 'net connection at the new place.

See you from the new place!

In case you were wondering...

I am an...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I was going to write a proper post

... but this is a strange, nostalgic sort of feeling I've had these last couple of weeks.

Do you remember the first time you came together with somebody you were really, really into? How you looked at each other, wondering if you were reading the interest right, if those were reponses or vague nothings, if the smile was an invitation. How you felt the first time you kissed; the time you walked around, holding hands, in a world of your own; the time you started sharing jokes, secrets, building a language all your own.

I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish, I'll be your fantasy,
I'll be your hope, be your love, be everything that you need.

When you met somebody who filled the lonely hole in your heart, did you make foolish promises? Do you remember that feeling?

And when the stars were shining in the velvet sky
I'll make a wish, send it to heaven and then make you want to cry

Do you remember the buildup of the excitement, the first time you went beyond a kiss? And the hesitation, the nervousness, the awkwardness at the next meeting?

There's a scene in Proof where the younger sister gets attracted to this guy and sleeps with him. The music that we use there is so bloody haunting. It gives you goosebumps. Tui amaye pagol korli re is a slower, freewheeling version of Bondhurey and Anindya does a fantastic mini-cover of the Cactus song.

[Note: It means, 'You're driving me insane', which is obviously a brilliant song for a play about insanity and genius.]

And I've been watching Niharika and Dhruv do it so wonderfully, and it reminds me of my college self. Falling in love is such a wonderful feeling, I can understand people who keep moving from relationship to relationship just to keep the high going. And I rock back on my heels and wonder if that's what I want. But I know I already have what I want. I've got the man to hold while I sift through memories and sigh for what is never to be. I've got the man to come back to each night, grateful for his unchanging self. Best of all, I've got him to hold tight as the song goes through me.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Great News!

Our 'new' place has finally had its electric supply re-connected so we're moving next weekend (1st weekend of Feb.)

Oh wow.

Will explain the whole thing later. Right now we're busy being grateful..

P.S.
We haven't bought it. Just moving from rented flat to another.

Righteously Yours

Just read this and was so glad V and I got tested. It was my idea but he was completely cool with it. Just like the tattoos. And the mad drives. And the baby-rearing. Like most things, really. I come up with the idea and he is happy to participate.

I think that's pretty much the perfect attitude to take in something like testing for HIV before marriage. In our case, I wanted it because it suddenly struck me that I'd had unsafe sex and didn't think it was fair on him. Of course, once we'd given our samples I was convinced that I had HIV and I worried myself silly until the results were handed over a few days later. Much later I discovered one needs to test at least thrice to be certain. But given that two tests set us back by a thousand I'm not sure we'd have gone in for such extravagance. Of course, when pregnant I had to re-do the test once more.

I don't know what the big deal is. We've all done something stupid or even careless in our lives. Why is testing for something life-threatening that may have resulted from a moment's carelessness so stigmatised? Like I commented at the post, I believe the test is something you undergo to show your concern for your partner; if you were concerned for yourself chances are you'd already have done it.

This is equally important in arranged and love marriages. In arranged marriages because you have no idea of the other person's past, obviously, and have to depend on what they say. In love marriages because, let's face it, few of us are our partners' only bed-fellows. V may never have slept with anybody else other than me but I did, so I think the test was important for us both. (Since we'd been having sex way before it struck me to take the test.)

I really don't get the big deal. I can understand your trepidation if you fear that the request for an HIV test will ruin your marital prospects -- but do you want to marry into a home that is so narrow-minded, unscientific and orthodox? I'm often told that I ought not criticise those (usually girls) who give in to all kinds of demands during the setting up of an arranged marriage because I had a love marriage myself. And I always say one thing: my marriage was something I arranged for myself. I have known what it is to love mindlessly, unheedingly, not caring of the consequences. It was never like that between V and I. Is that why this relationship lasted? I don't know. But I do know that I ensured that he would please my parents, be able to provide me with the kind of emotional support I need, that he would understand my tumultuous relationship with my brother, indeed, my family, that he would want and love children as I did -- I only agreed to the marriage because he suited these requirements. I was cold-blooded about it all because having been through very different relationships I had learnt that romance can always come later, but if the basics aren't in place, no amount of romance will hold you together. It sounds like very simple common sense now but it took me a long time to acknowledge this.

And thus when we decided to marry, I went about most things (ok, not all but most) with my mind, not my heart. The test was a part of this. I did it because I think it's something we all need to do.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How I Spent My second Wedding Anniversary

This is a record of yesterday, but only of my day. I don't know how Vicky spent his, so I can't say.

I started the day with good intentions. Wrote to my aunt, "We're not planning an exciting day because I've decided to try being nice to the Deadly Duo (father and son) and that will take up all the energy I have."

And I tried. I honestly did. But The Bhablet has been having some foul moods of late. Wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, gets under my skin in two seconds flat and the day goes all downhill from there. Nothing pleases him, nothing satisfies him and nothing pacifies him. Yesterday was one such morning (and afternoon). Vicky had gone to Lake Gardens (our new flat) to wait for the CESC people. The electric supply has still not been reconnected and we were told that an engineer would visit yesterday. V spent all day and all afternoon while I tried to deal with an increasingly difficult Bhablet and finally, I totally lost it. Called up V, screamed at him, screamed at The Bhablet, spanked him and flounced off to bed. V arrived around 4ish and tried to sort things out but I wasn't having any and yelled at him some more. Because, let's face it, it's all his fault.

And then I fell asleep. I slept through phone calls and messages and The Bhablet's waking up.

Around half past seven MM (and OA) called to wish us, luckily. That finally woke me up. That and seeing the woebegone faces of father and son downstairs. So we fed The Bhablet his dinner, packed him and his necessities into fresh clothes and a bag (respectively), got dressed and went out.

We had a cosy dinner of parathas and meat and fresh lime soda at Sanjha Chulha. They've expanded and gone posher and more expensive, but I think it's still good value for money. Portions are smaller but the cooking is still excellent. The Bhablet had some tandoori chicken and parts of a tandoori roti. He first spread crumbs all over the table and then wiped up after himself with a napkin, after seeing his father do it. This may not have been such a great idea since he wiped all the crumbs on to himself, but hey, I'll give the little man points for trying.

Then V suggested gelatos at Mama Mia! I had a scoop of lemon gelato while V had one of Belgian dark chocolate. The Bhablet licked from both cones with impartial eagerness.

It was an unexpectedly nice end to a day.

I wasn't expecting flowers or cards and got none. I didn't get V a gift either, given our precarious finances. But it was the little things, the little extra special dressing up, the mutual ignoring of the son that made it a nicer anniversary than the last. (The last one was nice enough, but V earned my eternal indignation by asking Cousin J to spend the evening with us. His excuse? He thought she'd take over baby and give us time to ourselves. So I spent my first wedding anniversary with my nineteen year-old cousin, a four month-old baby and his idiot father.)

Anyway, not complaining. And MM and OA, thanks. And DotMom and Tara and Moppet's Mom and Dipali, thank you all for the cards and phone calls. Does this mean I'll have to remember your special dates now? :( You know what would be nice? A reminder along the lines of, "Hey Doofus, my birthday tomorrow. Wish me!"

Yeah, that would be considerate.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why I Don't Bother Dieting

Because Garfield and I tend to think alike on these matters.

Also, for the record, I had a fantastic evening. Vicky was left at home holding the baby so we're going again, he and I, next week. I came home to find him fast asleep in bed, still holding the baby.

It's our second anniversary tomorrow.

Motoring Dreams (and Nightmares)

We went for The Statesman Vintage and Classic Car Rally yesterday. V's friend Sona's father attended with two cars this year (er, a '54 Aston A40 and a '51 Morris Minor convertible. I think) so we went along for the ride.

It's so cool to ride in a convertible! I've ridden in their old Sunbeam Talbot once, and I loved sticking half of myself up through the sun-roof for portions of the drive. We saw many of our old favourites and some new ones. The turnout was good, all told, which is very reassuring. The fluctuating finances of The Statesman, the lack of interest, the costs and difficulty of restoring and bringing these old cars have all been on my mind and the last time we went -- in Jan 2006 -- I was afraid that the rally would be discontinued.

This is one of those things that V and I do together. He goes along for the cars, I for the fun and we both have a grand old time. He drools over 'his' MG TCs and Jaguar SS 100s, and I sigh over 'my' gorgeous 1926 Auburn, and we are in perfect amity (or nearly) for a couple of hours. Which, as anybody will tell you, is a rare sight and needs encouragement.

This year The Bhablet went along for the first time. He was amazed at being seated in the back seat of the convertible -- where were the sides and the roof? -- and couldn't get over how he had been encouraged to climb out of his cot at 6.30 a.m. and then go on an outing. He is more used to being snarled at and told to get back to sleep. He loved the chill breeze, the long drive, all the other kids, Shreya Ghoshal singing (which she does well, I'll admit), the whole package. When I fed him breakfast we suddenly attracted a whole crowd of photographers. I lost count after the first 40 or so. He handled the attention with elan but after the first fifteen min I'm afraid I began to feel slightly spooked. I had this strong urge to dig my nose or scratch my butt or do something equally unphotogenic. I guess it's a good thing I'm not a celebrity, at that.

In the evening we were all set, V, Sona, The Bhablet and I, to go to a wedding reception. A schoolfriend of V and Sona's, Don was hosting a dinner at Middleton Chambers. Sona needed to pick up a gift and we went to the South City mall. I think it's a great place, and it's wonderful how they've brought all the big names (Ritu Kumar, Next, Guess, The Body Shop, Marks and Spencers, not to mention some other nice boutiques) next door but I'm quite sad to note that our neighbourhood will bear the brunt of all the increased traffic. We parked in a little lane nearby, did our shopping (why do men take so long in a mall?) and headed back to Ally. Only to discover that her right front wheel was hopelessly lodged in an open drain.

Did you know people shit in open drains?

It was a ghastly half hour. I started this post thinking I'd describe the incident fully, but I don't want to re-live it once more, so I won't. It was a shitty experience, pun, obviously, intended. Poor V.

We did go for the reception after all though, and the food was great and the bride rather pleasant. Met some other friends of V's, as also Barry's sister Ollie and her husband, two very nice, no-nonsense people that V and I happen to like a lot. (Although he's fond of saying that Ollie used to scare them with her sternness way back in school.)

It's been a very eventful weekend. Friday night we went for a late night supper at CCD Golpark, after the show. Saturday morning we slept in, then went to check out our new flat. The repairs are coming along nicely but I hope we get the electric connection in time. The CESC officials have been very friendly and helpful so far. We went to the South City mall in the evening (it opened 2 days before that) and came home in time to feed and bed The Bhablet at a decent hour. V and I had some words afterwards and I soothed myself by sorting out and cleaning Dana's makeup kit. This deserves some mention because it's a really well-stocked thing. It has all kinds of makeup and hair stuff. In addition, when I got married I donated some of my old makeup since I knew I was going to be gifted boxes of new makeup. So now it's really impressive. It does duty at all The Red Curtain shows and is passed around as and when required amongst theatre circles, so it was quite messy.

Sunday we were up early for the rally; The Bhablet lunched at Giga's (my mejopishi that is) and V and I watched The Ring -- the Japanese version, I mean. It spooked me well and good but V helped to neutralise the effect by calling it a video forward. (If you haven't seen it yet, sorry for the spoiler.)

We overslept this morning. The Bhablet has diarrhoea from something he ate yesterday. The washing machine has got something wrong with it and emptied all the water in each cycle all over our floors instead of into the outlet pipe. Our maid has been pissing me off for months now and has just left after sending my BP shooting some more. The day could get worse, I know, but I'm hoping it'll pick up. I have passes for this year's JUDE production tonight and I'm hoping to make it. Let's see.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thank You!

All you guys, thanks so much. Your wishes via the comments, email, sms all seem to have had some effect because we had a good premiere. More importantly, we had a fun premiere. Perhaps, if you've never been a part of a production you don't know this, but a production is best when the cast and crew are enjoying it as well.

I don't have photos with me right now but when I do have them, I'll put them up. Videos were shot, but they are, at an hour and a half, too long for YouTube of course. Maybe, if I can figure out how, I'll put up a clipping.

Ooh, I'm feeling all happy and excited this morning. You all enjoy your weekend, guys.

love,
Sue

Friday, January 18, 2008

Funnee!

So some little troll went running to Falstaff to tell him breathlessly that she agrees with his dislike of children. Except that he wasn't saying that he disliked children but that he wishes their parents would be more considerate. (Links in the other post.)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree, this madmomma, sue (Sunayana the slut who slept with every single man before marrying that poor guy), Dot mom (the old fat assed bitch), gettingtherenow - every one of them are always gushing about their kids. Madmomma is the worst !! SHe loves to talk about her super ugly kids, have you seen her daughter - man she is super duper ugly. MM the ugly bitch also begs her readers to click on the ads so that she can get paid for that! How desperate! Her hubby [...] is a AVP in some investment bank making 30-40 lakhs per annum and she paints such a oh-so-poor picture of hers! She always wants to thrust pictures of her kids into everybody's faces, even in realty she is like that, god I had been to her house and she thrust her snot eating shit sniffing daughter into my lap - gawd how I hated it!



My thoughts?

1. Oh lord, not again. Woman, if you've been fantasising about my husband I can't stop you but I assure you he's not interested in you and is not likely to be despite your concern for him. You see, all those "every single man" did teach me a lesson or two in keeping my man. Try again in another lifetime, dearie.

2. No fun in trying to out me, is there? My name, photos, phone number, contact details, everything is out there for all to see. Like I said, go home, lick your wounds, get a life and then we'll talk, ok? Ok.

3. All kids, and I'm talking of the child you were, Anon, especially of the child that you were, try to play with their potty and eat their snot.

4. You've obviously never actually met Beanie or MM, have you, because your remarks make no sense where she is concerned. MM is highly possessive and doesn't hand over her precious daughter to anybody unless they submit a form (in triplicate).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Since When Was Parenting a Crime Anyway?

You know, I'm getting rather tired of people attacking me. Yes, I'm taking this personally. Whether they do so in a mindless rant or in a more articulate, even entertaining post, I'm tired of being attacked for my choices. Yes, so I chose to have a kid. I chose to opt out of a career for a couple of years. I choose to take my kid around with me, I even choose to write about him on my blog now and then. Why should I be attacked for any of those choices?

Yes, I have a charmer of a son, he is also pretty attractive (I'm guessing the nursing-home switched babies on us) but so what? If he weren't handsome he ought not have a place in my blog?

I do not grudge young, single folks their 'freedom'. Many support parents/family, a lot of them stash away most of their earnings, far too many are desperately lonely. I think the pros and cons in their lives are about as evenly balanced as in mine. I sympathise with their frustration at being made to feel inadequate for not 'settling down' and producing children. But as all my friends -- in the real world -- know, I've never been an advocate of early marriages and parenthood. It works for me because I wanted it (ok, don't remind me of this when I whine) but I've never thought it's the ideal thing for society at large.

I'm pretty annoyed that some unmarried/non-parent bloggers think the correct way to deal with their frustration is to blame it on us, the ones who did what their parents want them to do. I've got news for you lot: our own parents crib about our choices too. We have frustrations of our own. And adding your utterly unrelated angst upon us is unkind, selfish and in the end, meaningless. It adds nothing to your lives, takes away very little from ours and achieves, well, nothing. Is that why you sat and wrote out your post? Isn't it more honest to type, "I hate people asking me when I'll get married. I'm happy the way I am, I wish they would just fuck off." Isn't that what you want to say? Then why say, "People with kids are such losers, I'm glad I don't have any."

[Note: If anybody responding to this post feels the need to swear please type out your swear words. I hate silly asterisk-ed wannabe words.]

I'll tell you why people with kids are given leeway now and then. Because we don't get time off. Because this lifestyle (it doesn't begin to compare with a mere job) is as physically demanding as anything anybody can come up with. Because the levels of stress are on par with the bitchiest of offices. Sure, it's fun, but it's also very demanding and a lot more work than anybody without kids can begin to imagine. I held down four part-time jobs while I finished my demanding MA course so I think I can say I know what I'm talking about here. I've worked full-time in an office, had good times and bad times there. I've been a corporate daughter all my life, so I know what that life is all about. And I still say parenting is harder. There's no boss to say, "You've done well, I think you deserve a raise" or "Your bonus this month is a junket." Our achievements are marked by gummy smiles and sticky hugs and wet patches on our clothes where sleeping little mouths have drooled onto us. So if we go on and on about it, have you ever considered we do it because we need to reassure ourselves that we are doing something right? Because there is nobody else above us, no boss to take the blame. Far from getting more money, stay-at-home parents are cut off from their independent sources of income and have their commitment questioned when they try to return to the work force.

Mothers who try to carry on working have it no easier. My father's PA recently had to quit her job because her parents fell ill and could no longer babysit her six month-old daughter. She didn't find reliable help in the time she took off. Some have worked too hard to give up on their careers and struggle on. Others have no choice. Whichever way it goes, parents have no easy choices.

So yeah, if somebody sees the baby in my arms and offers me a seat I'm grateful and I accept. If I'm invited to jump a queue I sometimes accept. If somebody wants to make a fuss over me, I allow it. And if ever anybody tries to say I don't deserve it all I get rather annoyed. Why don't you live my life and then tell me what I do and do not deserve?

Being intolerant of children is not using your freedom of expression. Children are not a separate race of people -- they are people. Some people are likable and some are not. Kids are like that too. I have a terrible reputation in my extended family for being too strict with my son. But I believe it's never too early to teach him right from wrong. I know he is capable of understanding it. Have known since I caught him sneaking looks at me before reaching out for my book, something he knew he was not allowed to touch. This at four months, when he could only roll over! I became such a strict disciplinarian only because I don't like parents bringing up their children to put their own kiddy needs before everybody else. So I do know what you're talking about when you write about annoying kids. But not all kids are annoying.

It's really not comparable to your attitude towards other communities or another species. Kids are how we continue the line of which you and I are but two links. A dislike of kids (as opposed to an irritability at being disturbed by them) is a scary sign of communal dysfunction. You may not be comfortable around children but being unable to stand them is not a good sign of mental balance.

The reason such a sentiment bothers me is this: kids are vital to continue the race. They will pass through all sorts of stages, need all kinds of help, teaching and training and they will carry on the work you are doing. In turn they will have children of their own. We were born to continue a long line. I'm not saying we should all have kids. But I am saying we all, yes, all, have something to pass on. Maybe a skill we acquired or developed. Maybe some insights into a field of knowledge. Perhaps just how to live harmoniously. Whether we have kids of our own or not, I think it's vital we pass on what we learnt in our lifetimes, because I think (like the Vikings) that it is eventual immortality that justifies our actions now. Why else are we writing down our thoughts, recording histories, opening centres of learning, conducting research? If we are doing something only for ourselves, our own generation, then why don't we destroy our learning when we die? Why leave it behind us if not for the next lot?

If something is not fit for posterity then it is a futile endeavour. Being intolerant of the next generation (and the generations after that) is a self-goal. You may do it spectacularly, but you end up looking an ass.

It's late, I've had a long day, tomorrow's going to be even longer. So here are links, instead of being properly placed within the post:

http://thebratthebeanandbedlam.wordpress.com/2008/01/11/why-is-it-alright-to-be-openly-intolerant-of-children/
http://www.aadisht.net/2008/01/12/more-mommyblogger-mockery
http://tellmepanic.blogspot.com/2007/07/udder-juice-good-bad-or-just-plain-ugly.html
http://2x3x7.blogspot.com/2007/12/civil-parenthood.html
http://2x3x7.blogspot.com/2007/12/civil-parenthood-revisited.html (these last two are thought-provoking rather than mindless rants but I think the basic premise is a bit worrying.)

Oh, and the third link is about something a little different but since I'm ranting -- why the hell aren't there mothering rooms in every goddamn mall? A clean room, need not be large, where one can change and feed a kid. Does not need toys (who'll clean 'em) does not need a tv. Just a clean room with a basin and a couple of chairs. Maybe a high chair? Every hotel/restaurant/mall/public place should have one, even if it's just a curtained off alcove. Because no woman wants to feed in public. They do so because they are not given a private space to feed their child. And while I'm on the subject, shame on my generation for being so squeamish about the most natural act in the world. It's natural in a way that even masturbation isn't. One you do because your very body and mind come together to urge you to; the other you decide to do for your own pleasure. I've breastfed in public spaces and my parents' generation looked the other way and carried on with their lives. It was a common sight in their time. And I'll tell you this, even bottle-fed babies are more comfortable being fed in a quiet room. I spent so much money at Mothercare (Madras) purely because they have such a room there so I could take my infant son when I wanted to go out. Whether I browsed through the books at Crossword on the next floor or had a coffee at Brio (also upstairs) I knew my son would not be paying the price for my afternoon out. Why the hell is this concept taking so long to catch on?

On Popular Demand


Happy? Priyanka? This was taken after a morning oiling. He's wrapped up in what I call a sarongi -- sarong-lungi. Made out of a blanket (kantha) of his.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm Here.

It's OK. Nothing happened. It'll all be fine.

Silly, meaningless little phrases I have taken to saying. To soothe a little boy. He's outgrowing his babyhood so fast I have this urge to fold it carefully, wrap it and store it amongst the old clothes and discarded toys.

He was quite ill in December. The tummy infection I didn't catch on to was given ten days to play up and the antibiotics he was given after that opened him up to a cold. The cold was mild, but it did make the month four weeks of various illnesses, big and small. In that time I became quite possessive of him -- something I had got over mostly. I began to resent other people playing with him, touching him, daring to think they knew anything about him or his needs. I didn't know I was doing that until we started the final leg of rehearsals for Proof last week and I had to leave him for entire evenings. V took to wandering with him, taking him to visit his parents, going shopping etc. And suddenly I found myself getting paranoid.

How stupid is that? Don't tell me, I do know.

And just as I was scolding myself out of this, The Bhablet went and fell very ill. On Thursday night V called me at rehearsals to report that The Bhablet had thrown up his dinner. On Friday morning there was some scary diarrhoea. Both were repeated on the long car trip to the airport on Friday evening. (I know, I know, he shouldn't have gone, but he had seemed better all day.) And I just panicked. I called up my director and told him I needed a day off (6 days before we perform). I cancelled all plans and sat at home, watching him. Holding back, letting V do stuff for him, letting my parents play with him, relying heavily on my instincts. Watching him every second like my life depended on it.

Seems to have worked. He hasn't thrown up today nor has the diarrhoea been repeated. Am keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow because I'll be away seven long hours tomorrow and I can only hope he (and Vicky) will be OK.

This is why I stay at home. I can't sit in an office when my child is ill. I know it's a weakness I'm displaying but it's who I am. I can be strong if I have to be, but if I can stay at home, I'd rather.

But staying at home comes with so many catches. My father has said, several times although once would have been enough, that I'm wasting my education and all that he "invested" in me. I'm not sure what he wants exactly because he doesn't like me going out of home leaving his grandson 'alone' but then, my father doesn't claim to be consistent. I myself feel like I'm vegetating. I get desperate for conversation and company sometimes. V is out of the house for the best part of the day now and that can get pretty lonely. But even when he is around, he and I don't share too many interests. He is liable to think I'm showing off or acting pseudo intellectual if I bring up anything I studied. I'm not criticizing him because I know he doesn't understand that this was my life for five years, that it's not a pretension. But it's true, if I were working, even studying, I'd be able to find people to share my interests.

The worst thing about staying at home is that I'm so unsuited to it. I was born to have my own family but I was not born to stay at home. Really. I've played house and nurtured my dolls since I can remember, and it's always been my dream to be able to boss my own family around. But it also depresses me to stay at home day after day. I need to see traffic, people, shops, bookstalls. When I get a little dose of 'outside' everyday I can function fine, enjoy my housework, love my family. This does not have to be much but it does have to be.

I have to say, in this respect I have been lucky. The Bhablet is like me and loves heading out of the house. He likes people and noise and lights and travel. If he has upset other people in restaurants or annoyed them in aeroplanes, I do not know of it. Nobody has ever complained and I'm quite used to having random strangers play with him, offer to babysit him while I take the weight off my feet, give me sometimes useful but always unsolicited advice.

I'm not sure what I would do if somebody complained. I do try not to give anybody a reason to. I think if a child is disruptive then, if possible, the parents should go home. It usually means that the child needs rest or quiet (assuming food, clean diapers etc. have been attended to). We try to go to places where kids are expected and welcomed. The one non-kiddy place we visit is T3 and I go there knowing that people will be smoking at the next table. So I don't go too often, even though it's a tea-room I really like. The other day we went for lunch with two friends of V's. The Bhablet decided to bang on the table through a large part of the meal. V's friend S didn't like it and told me so, that the noise was giving him a headache. I tried to mask it by covering that side of the table with a napkin. But really, what else could I do? I couldn't walk out with him because we were eating. Asking to leave would disrupt the lunch and ruin V's special day. And stopping a cranky toddler from doing the one thing that's keeping him happy is asking for a tantrum -- which would be much noisier and way more embarrassing.

In time The Bhablet drummed less and S also got used to it. Now he was not really being difficult, I'll give him that. But it just drove home to me how my perspectives have changed. Earlier I might have witnessed such a scene and judged the parents for 'spoiling'. Now I can recognise a tired child and therefore know when disciplining is useless.

But this change of perspective brings along with it a change in priorities. Earlier, I was the one who volunteered for extra work. Living alone, all I had to consider was whether I wanted to do something or not. If I did, then time, effort etc. were never considered. Nowadays I still check whether I want to do it or not first, but my willingness is largely influenced by whether I will need to step out of home to do it, whether V can juggle his work hours for my needs, whether it will be OK for The Bhablet.

This reasoning can be a bit difficult for non-parents. Both V and I receive a lot of consideration from our single friends, but it's still consideration. It's not something they understand but something they do out of kindness. So sometimes, when they think we are stretching their limits too far, they stop being so considerate. But it is not we who are stretching the limits. Having a baby, bringing it up only by the two of us, one of us also running a full-time freelance career, another trying to juggle out of home activities, all of this does mean that friendships have come second. It's not been an easy transition for a couple like V and I -- we are both very social and like having friends around and dropping in on them. We like friends depending on us. We like being able to live up to that. But all of that is not possible the way it used to be. Now The Bhablet comes first and we've often let down friends because of that.

We are not as punctual or as dependable. We don't lend money. (Heck, that's assuming we have some, which we don't, although let's not get into that.) We skip parties or go singly or come away early. We don't drink as much and I stay away from smoke and smokers. We don't go for mad drives. We are no longer available to hop over at a moment's notice. I mean, I would want to do all those, but it's all now possible only if it's acceptable by the The Bhablet.

Sometimes I wonder whether we only discuss The Bhablet's doings. I don't think we do. I have enough doting grandparents to discuss him with.

In the meantime, I've taken repeating what V told me when my need was great: "I'm here." He said that to me when I woke up crying from a nightmare. He held me and told me that when my word collapsed around me. And I tell that to our son now. It costs me a lot to say it because it's not just a phrase but an entire shift of focus and direction in my life, but I say it because it soothes both my son and me. I pat him and kiss him and tell him that I'm here. And hope that he understands that I'll only ever be as far away as he wants me to be.

[P.S. This post is not nearly as clear as it needs to be -- it's nearly 3 a.m. -- but I don't think I'll edit it either. Whatever you don't understand or take issue with I'll clarify in the comments' section.]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Proof

If you're in Calcutta on 18th January (Friday) drop by Gyan Manch around 6.30 p.m. and watch me act. Our adaptation of David Auburn's The Proof is ready to roll and I'm all butterflies-in-my-tummy excited about it.

No, really, do come. I last acted on stage four years ago and while that may not seem like a huge gap it really was a lifetime ago. Since then I've got married, moved to Cal, had a baby. I last acted as a college student.

If you can't make it at all, then the second show is on the 27th. Gyan Manch, same time.

The thing about Proof is that, like all other Red Curtain productions, it's for charity. This time we are performing for Operation Smile and obviously, the more money you donate for your ticket, the more operations they will be able to perform. Go on, click on the link and see the work they do. In general tickets are Rs. 50 (free seating) but you can pay more if you like. From Rs. 500 onwards you get a front row, numbered seat.

Please come. Operation Smile could do with your kindness and I would definitely enjoy meeting you. (Since we are never going to have a blog meet in Cal from all accounts.)

You can email harshakhorana@gmail.com or call 98301 46616 to book your tickets. Please remember to collect them 48 hours before the show or else they will be sold elsewhere. Alternatively, if you buy tickets for over Rs. 500 Harsh is willing to deliver them to you.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Or something like that, the idea being the scream that every well brought-up young woman lets loose on having the Fab Four serenade her. (Of course they're singing about me. You know they are.)

Go on, go check it out. What a lovely start to a day -- thanks, Beq.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

This is slightly insulting...

Sunny Days has been climbing the ratings steadily over the last one month or more. At TTLB as well as elsewhere. I couldn't help but notice that the climb coincided with a drop in posting. What exactly are you guys trying to say here? You like me more if I keep my mouth shut???

How rude!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Explorer Sue, the Blogging Buddy

Posting has been rather erratic of late, mostly because I've been busy either having fun or yelling at Vicky. (No, I did not combine the two activities.) And also because I've been so busy with Calcutta Walks. I've done a lot of walks in Sovabazar, including our new Sovabazar-Kumartuli one, and that's really exciting because a good part of it is in the area where the clay idols are made for pujas across the world. Chances are, if you've been to a Durga Puja somewhere, the idols came from Kumartuli. Also, I've finally got down to work on the blog, and you're welcome to take a look. Be a pal and leave a comment. We'd like to know
- what you think of walking tours
- whether you'd be willing to go for one
- what kind of stuff you'd expect on one (interaction with locals, music, getting you hands dirty, riverside walks etc.)

Oh and if you like the website, you can tell V right here. He made it and I rather like it myself.

In other news, Sparx has called me a blogging buddy. It's funny, but I'd have normally been a casual visitor to her blog and treated it like any other mommy blog were it not for for her Charlie. Now, Charlie (or Spud) is a Very Different Proposition. He is three weeks older than The Bhablet and sounds alarmingly like him. In the things they do and their general attitude to life. And it's an indication of the kind of mothers the two of us (Sparx and I) are that this fact was brought home to me on reading a post where she ponders over her son's habit of pulling his little penis all the way from here to eternity. It was something The Bhablet used to do and I lived in trepidation that he'd, er, damage something and blame me for letting him do it. (V scoffed at my fears but what would a mere male like him know about a penis?)

Anyway, so here is the cheesy-but-aww badge:


And Sparx, to answer your question -- yes, I do read my own blog. And it's NOT a mommy blog. I'm just a blogging mum (and wife).

And it made me think of my own blogging buddies:

1. Rohini -- I've exchanged emails, phone calls, a book and gifts but never met her. Looking forward to that happening someday.

2. The Mad Momma -- We've met and I'll do a post on that later. You can read her account of it in her post. But she has my ok. :)

3. J. Alfred Prufrock -- We mostly interact to trade insults, but then, it's something he's really good at, and I appreciate it. JAP, count yourself honoured at being mentioned here.

4. Poppin's Mom -- We introduced ourselves over a passionate exchange about patriotism but she doesn't know that my real reason for befriending her is to meet her adorable Poppin someday.

5. Dipali -- This list is no rating, because I guess then Dipali would have come much earlier. I don't meet her as much as I'd like, but somehow, going to her place is a little like heading back to my parents. Either you know what I'm saying or you don't.

6. Grafx -- We don't always agree but underneath it all we're not very different, I think. She designed the template for our family blog and I love it!

7. Vijayeta -- She's gone on a long break too and strictly speaking, she's more of a Facebook friend, but we 'met' in the blogworld.

My time's up and I'm off to grab a bit of rest now. I have to go book a room for my parents at a guest house nearby (they are coming next week, goody) and then The Bhablet and I are off to the Loveable sale (yippee) at the Ice Skating Rink. We hit the Christopher Taylor exhibition yesterday and loved it, and afterwards dropped in on Cousin T's mother and grandmother (my great-aunt) for a fun evening of gossip. I love winter evenings.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I'm late to the party

Cal Walks is keeping me very busy and very tired. I actually fell asleep before 11p.m. last night. :) It's a good thing The Bhablet was tired too and we'd decided not to party.

Anyway, we're partying tonight, which seems more to the point, and I thought I'd wish you all a happy new year! Enjoy your year, be it for good or for bad, because in the end it's all relative.

love,
Sue